Monday, 7 February 2011

Andalusia - Granada

After Cordoba, Granada is our next favorite place, mainly due to Alhambra and Flamenco. Even tough the sun is shining, we could see the surrounding mountains of Serra Nevada still fully covered by snow and the temperature was a bit cold. Yet, it was absolutely mesmerized.

A plaza near our hotel, feels like in the Arabic Gulf or in tv series - Zorro.

A plague in front of the Puerta de Perdon (Forgiving Door?)

Specialized tea shop where rip me off! Lucky, pina colada flavoured tea was worth the spending.

Entrance to Alhambra (top) and shots from many parts of Alhambra (below). There are so many thing to indulge in Alhambra especially the architecture and gardens. Sitting alone and savour the view took most of our time. Absolutely beautiful! 


Cordoba city viewed from Alhambra

We wrapped our visit by enjoying Flamenco in Sacromonte, performed in a cave. (top: Part of Sacromonte village at the base of a mountainous terrain; below: a flamenco dancer)

Bye bye beautiful Granada!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Andalusia - Cordoba

The journey then moved to Cordoba, a small town which gaining its reputation as the biggest city in Europe after Vatican city with 600,000 population. And due to its strategic location, Tariq bin Ziyad conquered the city in 711. Since then it was ruled by the Muslims until felt to the hands of Crusade Army in 14th century.

 The mosque

 The main attractions in Cordoba are Mesquita de Cordoba or Mesquita de Cathedral according to the locals and Medinat al Zahra.

On the left is the side entrance of the Mesquita, and on the right is where my conference is held - Palacio de Congresso.

The mezquita from across the river, where underneath the short minaret is the mimbar

Ancient aqueduct

One of the city gates

Inside a Jewish synagogue

Cordoba is appreciating most of ancient philosophers and intellectual, but most of the figures are Jewish.

I was so lucky that my conference fee include a "nocturno" (night) visit into the mezquita. Since I was the only person requesting for English guide, the organizer invited my significant half and our mix-miniature too. This is me, Zara and my supervisor, Dr. Maria-Antonia Tarrazon.

Mezquita de Cordoba is also popular as Mesquita de Cathedral because it was build on the site of Roman Catholic Church bought from the early citizens of Cordoba. Later, when Muslim were defeated, the Crusades build many chapels inside the mezquita. It was a controversial issue between the town government and the church but the royal decided to side the bishops. Picture on the right shows the main chapel in the middle of the building, while the left is the mimbar. We did check the qiblat and it is in the right direction.

Front entrance to the mezquita (left), some verse from the Quran found embalmed on the wall (right)

Carving of quran verse (left); the mezquita garden (right)

We went to an archaeological site, Medinat al Zahra, a Muslim town built by Khalifah Abd Rahman II and III towards the end of Muslim ruling.

Views at an area which was once a mosque,Medinat Al Zahra (left) and Zara at one of the arches.

Some of side walk-cafe under orange trees.

Cordoba Train Station

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Andalusia - Sevilla

Welcome to Sevilla
The first city that we went during our Andalusia working tour is Sevilla (pronounce as seˈβiʎa or se-vi-ya according to my system). This is the beginning of our tracking to the Islamic history in Spain. 

Walking in typical Spanish narrow passage

For example, this passage is the entrance to Postigo de Adb-el-Aziz

Palacio de Alcazar

The watch out tower, Torre del Oro, which erected after the Muslim during the invasion of Tariq bin Ziyad

The dome of this cathedral was once a dome of the main mosque in Sevilla in 7/8th century.

 Picture moment!

 We also found the shooting venue of Star Trek - Plaza Espana.

They removed the lamp-post, touched up the sky and of course the modern people..tada....Queen Amidala was walking with Anakin Skywalker

but if you leave the horses and its carriages it becomes the venue of classical Lawrence of Arabia. (this picture is taken from Wikipedia)

View of Plaza España from one of the doorway arc.

Ayuntamiento de Sevilla

Plaza del Toro, Sevilla


and one of the many beautiful fountain found in Sevilla